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22.04.2004 Regional News

Street children complete skill training

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Sekondi April 21, GNA - Mrs Mary Dei-Awuku, an Assistant Director at the Ministry of Manpower and Employment, on Wednesday said the Community Based Poverty Reduction Programme (CPRP) has been established to address three poverty related issues of nutrition and food security, street children and the monitoring and measurement of poverty in the country.

She was speaking at the graduation of 22 street children after training by the Western Region Centre for National Culture (CNC) in kente weaving, bamboo crafts, carpentry and ceramics under street children component of CPRP in Sekondi.

Mrs Dei-Awuku said the CPRP is essentially a learning instrument, which would enable the government and its partners to develop and test effective institutional arrangements for tackling poverty.

She said the street children project that was being implemented on pilot basis at Sekondi-Takoradi, Kumasi, Accra and Tamale was to develop appropriate packages and interventions that could re-integrate street into the mainstream Ghanaian society.

Mrs Dei-Awuku said the project was to ensure that children who are unfortunate to find themselves living under difficult circumstances are reached with appropriate interventions for their proper development. She said at the moment about 300 children are receiving various integrated training programmes, including vocational training, informal and formal education in the four pilot areas.

Mrs Dei-Awuku said to reach this objective, the government has received a credit from the International Development Association (IDA) towards the cost of the CPRP and a portion of this credit was being applied to eligible parents to provide training and support to street children under a contract.

She said the uniqueness of this project is that parents and guardians of these targeted street children are being provided with support in small enterprise development so that they can improve their income earning capabilities.

Mrs Dei-Awuku said this would help them take up the responsibility of caring for the children when funding for the project comes to an end. She said the project would also offer support to district assemblies to train communities in conflict resolution and this will ensure harmony at the household and community levels to prepare an enabling environment for children to grow.

Mrs Dei-Awuku appealed to parents and the public to make children's developmental issues top priorities.

Mr George Dzamesi, Deputy Shama-Ahanta East Coordinating Director, said the government is determined that all children have the right to education and advised the trainees to put their acquired skills to good use to enable them to earn a living and contribute towards the development of the country.

He said they could succeed in their endeavours only when they are disciplined and urged the trainees to avoid social vices. Later, the graduands were presented with certificates and re-settlement materials including hand tools and other equipment. 21 April 04

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